NLL Preview: San Diego Seals

Perhaps the hottest new teams in the NLL, the San Diego Seals have made a serious splash in the lacrosse world through many facets. So much so, it seems as if lacrosse is here to stay in California this time.

Billionaire owner Joseph Tsai has done a great job of attracting the right people to be involved with his club. A former Yale Bulldog himself, he has more than an average understanding of lacrosse.

This characteristic afforded him the ability to secure Patrick Merrill as General Manager and Head Coach. The older of the two Merrill brothers, Patrick was the first pick overall in the 2002 NLL Entry Level Draft. He went on to have a long and successful career playing for Toronto, Orlando and New York. He brings a wealth of knowledge and know-how that will undoubtedly aid in his new team’s success.

Under Merrill, first-ballot NLL Hall of Famer Josh Sanderson will lead the team’s offence. The Orangeville, Ontario native played 19 seasons in the league and is tied in first for the record of 100+ point seasons.

Out the back door, the former defensive veteran Bill Greer will man the defence. Greer won a Champion’s Cup with Rochester in 2007 and recorded 158 points through his 190 game career.

The Seals’ roster bolsters some of lacrosse’s top brass such as Brodie Merrill, ‘Dangerous’ Dan Dawson, Turner Evans, Garrett McIntosh, Kyle Buchanan and Cam Holding. Each player is well-established in the NLL and Senior A lacrosse. They will serve as a great mentors for the team’s young guns like Austin Staats, Zach Miller, Connor Kearnan, and Garrett Epple. These young players have accomplished a lot through their short careers already and it will be exciting to see what lies ahead of them as they move forward together.

Brodie Merrill at the 2017 Heritage Cup. (Photo credit: Anna Taylor)

From a player’s perspective, this team is very well constructed. A great mix of young players with tremendous talent that will quickly find their rhythm as a team and as NLL players and all-star calibre veterans who will lead the charge and dictate the style and tempo of play.

Expect a high propensity for scoring with Evans, Staats and Dawson up front. These three should be able to do the heavy lifting when it comes to filling the net, especially with such a talented cast playing with them.

Brodie Merrill will be the cornerstone player in the defensive end and I’m sure will help develop a fantastic transition system with speedsters like Miller and Brandon Clelland. A great mix of size and strength paired with speed and agility will make for a complete Seals’ defence.

The Seals will experience growing pains and have obstacles to overcome in the Western Division with strong teams like Colorado and Saskatchewan to compete with. However, based on the resources available to them, a strong coaching staff, and a great mix of talent through their roster, expect these issues to be temporary. I see a potential slow start but a formidable team that will be able to come together quickly and move forward.